9.28.2014

This I Know….{My Life}


THIS I KNOW….

Attending church on Sundays fills me with a desire to live the commandments more fully.
To be more obedient. 

I loved this quote I heard today….
'Keeping commandments brings blessings every time!
Breaking commandments brings a loss of blessings every time!'

I want to be worthy of those blessings Heavenly Father has in store for me.
I want to do better. Be better. Serve more.
Study more. Pray more. 

I love that attending church can make that desire burn in my bosom. 
Reminds me of how I want my next week to go.
Reminds me of what is important. 
Reminds me that I am loved by Heavenly Father and that he wants to bless me.

I want to be worthy of those blessings.
I want to try harder this week.

I will start with making a commitment to spend time with my scriptures first thing in the morning.
Before I check my phone. 
Before I play a game of Words with Friends.
Before I answer emails.

I know if I start my day off right, blessings will follow.
So will hardships, 
Because that is life.
But the blessings will be sweet.
I'm sure of that.

9.26.2014

5 FAVORITES from ANTHROPOLOGIE….{MY STYLE}

5 FAVORITES FROM ANTHRO {right this minute}

AND…on sale with an additional 25% off.
Use code SALEONSALE.
You are welcome.
I just ordered each item.













I'm needing new jeans so hoping at least one of these work.
And as you can see…I'm wanting a lighter wash for Fall.
Instead of darker!

And I'm really hoping this maxi dress with a brown belt will work!
Anytime I can find a sweet dress with sleeves I always cross my fingers.

HAPPY FRIDAY.
HAPPY WEEKENDING.

9.22.2014

THE HARDEST PARTS....



While saying goodbye to our Little Miss was one of the hardest things we have ever done,
there were other things that were nearly as hard during the transition process.

The idea of packing her belongings up paralyzed me.
How do I pack her up to leave?
What do I pack her things in?
When do I pack up her belongings?

Those thoughts just left me in tears.

On Friday morning, I was still asking these questions.
She would be leaving that weekend and I still hadn't packed her up.
I couldn't. The idea of it was so final.

No way was I packing all her things in large black garbage bags.
And moving boxes were also out of the question.
I don't know why...but they didn't feel right either.

I thought about our suitcases. They could work.
I finally called a friend, mentor and seasoned foster care woman.
She suggested plastic bins that easily could be seen and labeled.
Toys. Clothes. Keepsakes.
That was a great idea but I know didn't have time to buy them.

I finally decided on some of my very large CUTE decorating bags and beach bags.
I started Saturday morning by organizing all her clothes by outfits!
I thought it might be easier to sort through the clothes if her new
mommy could quickly see what we paired together.

I packed her through tears, but honestly there was constantly a struggle.
A struggle to be excited for her new journey and the heartbreak of the goodbye
that needed to happen for her new journey to begin.

My greatest comfort during her transition times were spent
talking on the phone with her soon to be forever mommy.
We spent A LOT of time on the phone the couple of weeks leading up to goodbye.

We talked about her schedule and routine.
Things that comforted Little Miss.
The foods she liked.
What time she woke up and went to bed.
The laundry detergent we used so her new mommy could buy it
so her clothes smelled the same for awhile.

But I pulled back that week before she was leaving.
I didn't want my uncontrollable tears to tarnish the excitement
of their special weekend coming up.

And so I packed her on Saturday as we hung around the house.
Our last day with our little girl. Doing nothing but enjoying her in our home.

And, since I knew she would be coming to visit,
I did keep a sippy cup of hers as well as a Hello Kitty plate and bowl
for her to find when we started Family Dinners a few months later.


* * * * * 



Speaking of a 'few months later'...
that was the other Hardest Parts.

Social workers counseled us to wait at least 2 months to see her after her transition.
That idea KILLED me.
Reduced me to a blubbering mess.

2 months after she had been in our home every day for almost 2 years
felt like it was going to be an eternity.

The social worker also counseled that I would need to not be a hot mess
the morning of the goodbye transition. 
That Little Miss needed to feel peace and strength during the goodbye. 
She needed to know I trusted the process that was taking place.
 If she saw that I was a mess she might be nervous and scared.
And that was the last thing I wanted her to feel.

Thankfully Trina, her new mommy, and I agreed that we would make
our own timeline based on what Little Miss needed.
That comforted me...even though I still knew it would probably be a good 6 weeks.

But it allowed me to again show Little Miss that I trusted her new family.
I trusted this process.
And...I trusted God in His plan for her.

However hard those parts would be.

* * * * *

{Little Mister and Little Miss continued to attend the same daycare...timed very carefully so she wouldn't ever see me. And this was their reunion after two weeks of being apart.}



The daycare provider was so sweet to send these to me as soon as I drove away.
Again so grateful to God for so many who love these two children and want the best for them.
The fact that she documented it made my heart swell.


9.18.2014

CAPTURING JOY + LOVE.... {family of six photos}




Initially Little Miss's goodbye date was set to be in October.
But once we introduced Little Miss to her forever family and 
they started having her for the weekends, they didn't want to wait that long.

Oh that made my heart happy and sad at the same time.
It was so important that I knew she would be loved 
fully, completely and immediately by her new forever family. 
I knew it would be right if they felt they couldn't live another day without her.

Hearing them say...'they couldn't wait until October' was exactly what I needed to hear.
But that meant instead of having one more month with her....
we had ONE WEEK. 

I called my girlfriend Sarah Lane, from Sarah Lane Studios,
and frantically explained our situation.
We had a couple of wishes before Little Miss left.
One was to have family pictures taken with her.
She was part of our family for almost 2 years.
She would forever be a part of our family and I wanted it documented.
Mostly I wanted our relationship documented.
Her personality documented.
Our love for her and her love for us....documented.

But this week was going to be hard to pull off.
We were all a mess. 
We only had ONE WEEK left with her being ours.

Sarah texted back that she could take pictures the very next evening.
I told her I would be praying that we would be smiling
and would truly be able to capture joy and love in those photos.

I don't know how we managed
but we succeeded!


We captured HER with each one of us. 





Captured the love we had for each other.




And Sarah was able to capture the love I had for her as her mommy.







Not one tear was shed the evening of the photo shoot....



Well....except from Little Miss!


She did not like Sarah trying to take any pictures of her.
At one point, she was throwing a fit and crying and I said....
'Snap that picture. I need that. That is her tantrum I always want to remember!'

Oh how I LOVE that girl.

It was also important to me to have Sarah capture a few pictures
of Little Miss and Little Mister together so I could frame it 
and put it by Little Mister's bed!



I asked for prayers that day from everyone so that we could stop crying
for the evening and be able to Capture Love & Joy. 

Thank you. 
Those prayers were heard.

And thank you Sarah Lane Studios from the bottom of my heart.
These pictures are near and dear to our family's heart. 

* * * * * 

Here are some of the out-takes from trying to photograph a
family of six with two toddlers!





Now to figure out which one to print large for our wall....
because seriously.... the outtakes are just as frame worthy!

9.16.2014

A TUESDAY...A YEAR AGO TODAY.



She was 13 months old when we carried her into our home in her carseat.
She was a tiny little thing but had a strong presence.
She was timid but livid.
She had just been removed from the only home she knew.
She screamed....for 6 weeks.
She cried so loud I was sure our whole court could hear her.

And here I was crying so loud I was now sure our whole court could hear me.
It was a Tuesday, the Tuesday before she would be leaving our home.
A Tuesday....a year ago today.

I spent that day slumped on the floor near my closet door in my bedroom.
Wailing. Sobbing. Arms wrapped tight around my chest.
Knees pulled in and tears spilling down my cheeks.
Noises were coming from my deepest inners I didn't even know I could make.
How could this decision have felt so right and hurt so bad.

I wanted to spend every minute with her, but didn't want her to sense anything different.
I brought her to daycare so she wouldn't see me in pain. 
But I just wanted her here...in our home that last week.
Every.Single.Day.

Instead I spent the week weeping. I wore sunglasses full-time.
I didn't answer my door or my phone.
I had heard the anticipatory grief was actually harder than the saying goodbye.
I'm not sure one is harder than the other, but your mind gets the best of you 
during the anticipatory grief process.

I had a women say to me the other day.....
'can you imagine how it felt for her to have to leave your house and watch her brother stay?'
It took everything for me to hold it together there in that office. Tears filled my eyes
but I didn't let them spill over. I didn't want to make her feel bad.
It was an honest thought and question.

But, YES...I had thought that thought over and over and over and it was that thought that
almost killed me. In fact, I can't keep from weeping now as I type.

That is what anticipatory grief is. The unknown. And it hurts deeply.

But I also knew a few things that were so so good.
She was loved. And would continue to be loved by our family.
She was already loved by her new family.
She was young. Very young and very resilient.
I had been told by a therapist that she doesn't think that way.
Little ones can't think those thoughts. They feel them...in a nervous system type of way
but they don't actually think those thoughts. It helped and made sense.
Her nervous system would feel it.
She would rebel. Fight back. But not know exactly why.
Would she miss us, cry for us and want to go back home. 
Yes. But was her mind working overtime like mine was during anticipatory grief. No.

I knew she was going to be loved.
By so many wonderful loving people.

But that week.....that week of anticipatory grief was hell. 

********

I will be writing this week about saying goody-bye to Little Miss. 
I need to. My heart needs to record it.
I've been so weepy yesterday and today and then realized why.
And thought...can my body and soul really recall this season in my life from a year ago?
I think so. I can't deny it.



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